Monday, May 10, 2010

President Obama nominates Elena Kagan to U.S. Supreme Court

On May 10, President Barack Obama nominated 50-year-old Elena Kagan to fill Justice John Paul Stevens’ seat on the Supreme Court of the United States. For the last year as Solicitor General, Kagan has represented the U.S. Government in cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Kagan has never served as a judge and has a limited record on the abortion issue. During her confirmation hearing for Solicitor General, Kagan was not asked about her position on abortion. In the past, she has criticized a Supreme Court ruling (Rust v. Sullivan) which upheld regulations which prevented Title X funds from going to projects which counseled women about abortion.

After the announced retirement of Justice Stevens, President Obama was asked if his nominee would ever not support abortion and President Obama claimed he did not have an abortion litmus test for potential nominees but then said, “But I will say that I want somebody who is going to be interpreting our Constitution in a way that takes into account individual rights, including women's rights. That is something that is going to be very important to me."

In the coming months, Kagan will appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee to answer questions about her judicial philosophy. If the Senate Judiciary Committee votes to approve Kagan, the U.S. Senate will then decide whether to confirm her nomination. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) hopes Kagan will be confirmed by the end of the summer.

Right to Life of Michigan will provide updates on when the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings will take place and when any votes on Kagan’s nomination are scheduled.